O'Connell Square, Mountmellick
A prominent town centre shop in Mountmellick, Laois is to change ownership, with the owners blaming the loss of the Post Office from the town centre for a big drop in business.
The Mace supermarket business in O'Connell Square was bought one year ago this month by Ramona Maria Nunu and her partner Michael Apache, in a move to start their own business.
Maria had spent the previous five years working in the shop and took on the task of running and managing it herself.
She has now confirmed that they have made the decision to sell on.
"I feel sad, I have been behind the counter here for six years, this was our little project. We were supposed to celebrate our first anniversary on January 21," she said.
"We are moving on because the Post Office moved last June and everything went bad for us. Everybody went down there instead, that's the only reason," she said.
"We tried everything, but there is no footfall now. The only thing that was keeping us going was the school across the road, and our loyal customers. We tried desperately to make it work, all the staff are brilliant but we had a lot of debts like rent and revenue and rates and wages and suppliers. it was literally a struggle," she said.
Michael confirmed that the shop will remain open until the new owners come in, and that the new owners will keep the present four staff.
Nearby business The Paint Store has wished them well.
"We are going to miss Maria with her friendly and welcoming nature. She ran a excellent shop and the glass was always half full. It’s sad and unless Laois Country Council make genuine efforts to support trading by reducing rates in Mountmellick town centre we fear we will see more follow. Also planners need to encourage development of the centre of town," said Ciara Kenny.